VolaMod - Volatilisation of Hydrocarbons

Project title

Field experiments in artificial streams to develop and evaluate a model approach for volatilization of hydrocarbons and other organic pollutants from natural rivers

Project initiator

KWB with contract to University of Osnabrück, Institute for Environmental Systems Research (USF)

Project volume

537.152 €

Project start



18 months


Drinking water abstraction from rivers can be significantly affected by hydrocarbon spills from petrol industry or road traffic accidents. In order to establish appropriate countermeasures in the event of damage, it is essential that the environmental authorities and water suppliers have precise knowledge of the expected concentration of these contaminants. In many cases 1D and 2D computer models are used to predict the contaminant concentration. However, the common models don’t include the volatilisation of volatile substances from the plume.  

The project VolaMod is supposed to yield a profound scientific background for the process understanding of the volatilisation of volatile substances in rivers and derived mathematical equations in order to advance the current modelling models. 

For this purpose, technical scale experiments at the artificial stream and pond system (FSA) of the German Federal Environmental Agency in Berlin will be conducted by the University of Osnabrück (Institute for Environmental Systems Research, USF).

By application of hydrocarbons and variation of different parameters as flow velocity, wind speed, stream bed roughness and temperature, the volatilization of these contaminants can be measured and set into relation to the varied parameters. The resulting data will contribute to set up the required mathematical models.


Dr. Gesche Grützmacher (KWB)

Prof. Michael Matthies (USF)

Financial support: